Monday, May 13, 2013

For the Love of Pottery

(cover photo provided by Stewart Tabori & Chang)
Hi, Knitters,
I am taking a turn off the knitting path today to share another handcraft with you. I don't know about you but I am a huge fan of hand-thrown pottery. In fact, I will admit to being slightly obsessed with it and collecting pottery as much as I am able. I have dreamed of taking pottery classes to learn how to use a wheel for forever and I think soon I will be doing that. Part of my renewed urge to sign up for a pottery course is this new book I received from STC, Simon Leach's Pottery Handbook. This beautifully-crafted spiral bound hardcover book is completely inspiring. The book has some of the most gorgeous photography I've seen and this is partly due to knitter/designer/yarn creator Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed fame. The other photographer and author is Bruce Dehnert.

The book comes with two DVDs that share videos from Simon Leach's 895 YouTube pottery videos. I can't wait to dig into these DVDs. This is the perfect topic to include DVDs because these are not techniques you see in the everyday world.

(photos provided by Stewart Tabori & Chang)

The handbook was created as a companion piece to Simon's fantastic and expansive YouTube Channel. The book and the DVDs make for a comprehensive guide for new and seasoned ceramic artists alike. The book alone is a wonderful exploration of pottery how-to. I just love everything about it. The book includes: set-up, tools, clay tips, techniques like throwing, trimming, adding pieces, decorating and glazing and even how to set up and build your own kiln (can you imagine how cool that would be?).

I want to do it all! Projects included in the book are cylinders (tankard, tea bowl, pitcher and bottle), dishes and bowls, a teapot, and a variety of lids.

Simon Leach lives in Williamsburg, PA and teaches workshops throughout the country. Bruce Dehnert, co-author, lives in New Jersey and is the head of ceramics at Peters Valley Craft Center.

I am excited to be able to offer you a chance to win a copy of Simon Leach's Pottery Handbook! If you'd like to win a copy of this gorgeous and inspiring book, please leave one comment on this blog post. Please include your email or rav id so I can get in touch if you win! 

Now for a little show and tell of some of my favorite pottery pieces: 

This Little Bird Yarn Bowl by Aaron A. Harrison is one of my most favorite pieces. It was a gift from Deb (lovetocraft rav id) for one of our Itty-Bitty Knits swaps. 

This beautiful matching Little Bird Mug comes from the same artist, Aaron A. Harrison. It's so beautiful I haven't used it yet but have left it sitting in my studio to admire. I'm going to start using it for tomorrow morning's coffee.

Here are a few more pottery items in my collection.

I have a small collection of a local artist's pottery. Her name is Beth Rasmussen and she is such a talent. I have been collectting her bowls, platters, cups and even ceramic snowmen for over 20 years now. She is clever, subtle and so aware of the smallest details. She doesn't have a website but her information is on the Madison Potters Guild website. Click here to read more about her!

Look what's inside this cup!

I love this whimsical ceramic caterpillar found inside the cup above! Beth is so cute. The other thing I love about Beth Rasmussen is that her equally talented son teaches ceramics at our high school. My son took his classes and fell in love with the pottery wheel and the art. He learned so much from his high school ceramics teacher who became his favorite teacher of all time. 

I have my son's pottery pieces all over my house now and I keep many of his bowls in my studio to set my working yarn in as I knit. I would just love to make my own bowls, platters, buttons and mugs.... a girl can dream.

I will keep you posted if I find a good studio to take some workshops. I have some in mind. I will definitely be using Simon Leach's book and videos to guide me as I go!

Remember to leave a comment if you are interested in winning a copy of Simon Leach's Pottery Handbook. Good luck if you enter to win! I'll be back in a couple short days to choose a winner via random number generator.

Have a great start to your week.
best, susie